I can only speak with reference to calling at NEFFA, as I have never applied to DownEast. As some of you may know that Linda Leslie is NEFFA's program chair, I will note that the program chair does not select performers for contra sessions.
Regarding NEFFA 2007, the following notice is now posted at http://neffa.org/perf_app.html - The Program Committee is not prepared to take your application at this time, since it is too late to apply for this year's NEFFA Festival. Please note that the application to perform is always available during the month of September, with a deadline in October. If you'd like to get an e-mail notice of application availability, send a blank e-mail to NEFFA_Performers-subscribe(a)yahoogroups.com
So you can note on your calendar that September is a good time to check the NEFFA web site, and also arrange for a notice to pop up in your e-mail.
The NEFFA application invites you to come up with a briefly-described theme for your session, with a title of 20 characters or less. IMO, use your own judgment as to how important the theme is. If you are offering a concept that's really meaningful to you, don't be afraid to describe it. If what you really want to do is just call some hot contras, then IMO I wouldn't go overboard on the theme.
Unlike Northwest Folklife, callers and bands apply SEPARATELY to the New England Folk Festival. And I believe that this is a very good thing for beginning callers who hope to have a chance at getting onstage. This mix-and-match policy gives a fresh perspective for experienced performers, and can be an eye-opening experience for newcomers who may get to work with seasoned veterans. I will never forget calling at NEFFA with Northern Spy, a band that has worked with caller David Millstone for 25 years. And where was David during this session? Out on the floor, happily dancing to the music of his own band. NEFFA's selection process made that wonderful hour possible for me.
For what it's worth, the first year I successfully applied I asked for a "Festival Orchestra" slot, which means that instead of calling a themed, hour-long session I called two dances in the Main Hall with the assembled orchestra and then got off the stage as the next Festival Orchestra caller had a turn. IMO, the key here (as well as in submitting a session proposal) is to choose dances that you know by heart, can teach well, fully believe in, and love to share with a crowd. You don't want to have second thoughts as you approach the microphone.
If you're wondering why performer applications are required so far in advance of a festival, note that NEFFA may have 1700 performers, many of whom perform in multiple sessions (perhaps performing alone, and with a participatory dance group, and also with a concert performance group!). You can't doublebook a performer (or larger groups to which she may belong), you have to give her time to move from one venue to another, plus a bunch of other scheduling etceteras that would drive me loony to contemplate further. How scheduling was done in the days before computers is beyond me.
Robert Jon Golder
164 Maxfield St
New Bedford, MA 02740
I try and call the dances of Rich Blazej whenever I can and this one's a
Halloween favorite, re-done as "Werewolves and Zombies".
*Garfield's Escape* -- circle of couples PLUS ONE EXTRA in the center
A1 All into the center EIGHT steps and back, menacing the Garfield
A2 Circle left, circle right
B1 Women (werewolves) promenade single file to the right, while men
(zombies) "star" by the right -- each man puts his right hand on right
shoulder of the man in front - including Garfield.
B2 Caller hollers "Escape!" ("Boo!", or maybe "Braaaiiins") and all men
run to the outside and swing with a woman in the outer circle. A new
Garfield remains in the center.
Rich himself named this after Garfield the comic-strip cat, way back when
he was cynical and funny (the cat, not Rich).
"The single man remaining at the end of the dance is entitled to a pan of
lasagna and some fresh kitty litter".
My favorite normal tune for this is the minor jig Coleraine, played at a
slightly slower lurch-y tempo, but if I'm lucky the band'll do the Alfred
Have fun, just thought I'd share -- and I'd love to hear how it goes if you
do it, and what variations emerge.
Linda Leslie's suggestion of gyre as a replacement for gypsy bubbled around
in my brain and a new (I think) dance percolated up. It has a twist that
isn't the gyre (which I consider just new nomenclature); women casting out
of the swing to travel from one minor set to another (similar to gent's
movement in Scoot by Tom Hinds).
I haven't gotten to test it with dancers yet, as I just finished running it
through with pegs on my desk; but I wanted to share it in support of a new
A Gyre for Linda
by Luke Donforth
(4) Pass through to an ocean wave (ladies left, catch right with partner)
(4) Balance the short Wavy line
(2) Walk forward
(3) Shadow gyre right 1/2
(3) Gents gyre left 1/2 in the middle
(16) Neighbor gyre right and swing
(8) Men allemande Left 1-1/2 WHILE women cast cw around whole set one
(8) 1/2 Hey, passing partner by right shoulder
(16) Partner gyre right and swing at home
As for the other aspects that have been discussed:
I pronounce it with a softer g sound. For reasons unclear to me, gyre has
different accepted pronunciations; but (to my knowledge) gyration doesn't.
As for using the term (which I clearly support); it costs me nearly nothing
to switch and helps make the dance more accessible for some; both in
dropping a term some find offensive and making the name more descriptive of
the move. My job as a caller is to help share the joy of dancing, and if
this does that I'm in favor of it.
Hi: I don't usually wake up with a dance in my brain so I'm wondering if it's already been written.
Solistice '17 improper Donna Hunt
Long waves with ladies facing in
A1 Balance wave and Rory twirl to R to NEXT neighbor and Swing
A2 Pass through to a wave and Balance, walk forward to next wave and Balance
B1 Swing through (turn R 1/2, gents pull by) Partner Swing
B2 Balance ring and twirl to right, Allem L neighbor 1 1/2 to make waves
Anyone recognize this as a dance already out there?
I wrote this dance yesterday, but I'm not confident it doesn't already
exist under a different name. Does anyone recognize the choreography under
a different name?
Longfellow's Revenge by Dugan Murphy (duple improper contra)
A1 Neighbor balance and swing (16)
A2 Long lines forward and back (8) / Gents left hand allemande 1.5 (8)
B1 Partner balance and swing (16)
B2 Ladies chain to neighbor (8) / Partner right hand balance (4) - Partner
pull by across (2) - Neighbor left hand pull by on the side to face new
Thanks for taking a look!
dugan at duganmurphy.comwww.DuganMurphy.comwww.PortlandIntownContraDance.comwww.NufSed.consulting
Thanks, Michael and Linda! I'll write it down as a variation of "Finishing
Touches" by Ridge Kennedy. I like the original A1 with a do-si-do too.
dugan at duganmurphy.comwww.DuganMurphy.comwww.PortlandIntownContraDance.comwww.NufSed.consulting
On Sat, Dec 30, 2017 at 9:08 PM, Linda Leslie <laleslierjg(a)comcast.net>
> In my records, I have this dance with a minor variation:
> Finishing Touches by Ridge Kennedy
> In Ridge’s dance, the A1 is N do si do and swing.
> Cheers! Linda
> On Dec 30, 2017, at 7:37 PM, Dugan Murphy via Callers <
> callers(a)lists.sharedweight.net> wrote:
> I wrote this dance yesterday, but I'm not confident it doesn't already
> exist under a different name. Does anyone recognize the choreography under
> a different name?
> Longfellow's Revenge by Dugan Murphy (duple improper contra)
> A1 Neighbor balance and swing (16)
> A2 Long lines forward and back (8) / Gents left hand allemande 1.5 (8)
> B1 Partner balance and swing (16)
> B2 Ladies chain to neighbor (8) / Partner right hand balance (4) - Partner
> pull by across (2) - Neighbor left hand pull by on the side to face new
> neighbor (2)
> Thanks for taking a look!
> Dugan Murphy
> dugan at duganmurphy.com
> www.DuganMurphy.com <http://www.duganmurphy.com/>
I composed this to have a fairly easy way to introduce diagonal moves to a
group that isn't familiar with them. I don’t usually write dances without a
N swing, but my attempts to include one haven’t gone well. Suggestions
If it’s original, I’ll call it ChainChainChain Improper
A1 N dosido into long lines, Gents face out; Ladies face in. Balance F&B,
A2 In these longlines (Ladies face out, Gents face in, partner on the
right) Balance the wave, Partner Swg
B1 on left diagonal, Ladies chain over and back to partner
B2 across the set, Ladies chain to N; Star Left
I'm on the road for vacation instead of calling, which means that I don't
have easy access to dancers to try things with; so I'm pinging the hive
What do folks think about the transition star->hey with the next.
Ladies start left shoulder hey
Neighbor right shoulder gyre and swing
Circle Left 3/4
Ladies chain across
Left hand star 1x
The ladies have their left hand in on the star, and usually I avoid a left
with one, left with the next transition; but I feel like the swoopy nature
of the hey gives it some slack. It also sets the gents up for a turn over
shoulder entry into the hey.
It could be a right shoulder in the middle hey, and a balance and swing. I
don't have a passel of dancers to try it with.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks, and happy solstice and return of the light to you all.
Those of us who started dancing 2 or 3 decades back probably remember
the rule about sitting out the dance if you turn down a partner offer.
A very competent male dancer I know who started around the same time I
did (late 80s) recently confessed to me that he never asks anyone to
dance because he doesn't want to put folks in the position of thinking
"If I don't dance with this guy then I have to sit one out. Oh crap,
guess I'll have to dance with him." For the record, he's a totally
solid and delightful dancer.
To what extent has that earlier etiquette norm either survived or been
replaced, and what has it been replaced with? In your dance community,
do you have a written statement of the etiquette around this? Our
community's statement doesn't directly address this issue.
At South Bay Contra ( SF Bay Area) we have a sign posted around the hall (edited from a sign that I got from Pasadena Contra that edited the sign from Lake City Contra). It says:
When looking for your next dance partner, please know:
Anyone can ask anyone. Don’t wait to be asked.
If someone asks you to dance, it’s fine to say no.
You don’t have to sit out a dance because you declined an offer.
If you want to dance, ask someone right after the last dance ends. Sitting down means you are not going to dance.
We also ask that the caller reiterate this during the lesson and during the dance.
On 12/16/17 11:39 AM, Kalia Kliban via Callers wrote:
> Hi all,
> Those of us who started dancing 2 or 3 decades back probably remember
> the rule about sitting out the dance if you turn down a partner offer.
> A very competent male dancer I know who started around the same time I
> did (late 80s) recently confessed to me that he never asks anyone to
> dance because he doesn't want to put folks in the position of thinking
> "If I don't dance with this guy then I have to sit one out.? Oh crap,
> guess I'll have to dance with him."? For the record, he's a totally
> solid and delightful dancer.
> To what extent has that earlier etiquette norm either survived or been
> replaced, and what has it been replaced with?? In your dance
> community, do you have a written statement of the etiquette around
> this?? Our community's statement doesn't directly address this issue.